Sunday, October 26, 2014

P. F. Sloan Appearance in Pasadena, California Made Classic Rock History

If you were fortunate enough to be in the Community Room of the South Pasadena Library on Oct. 16, 2014, then you thought you were there for just “Music and Author Night,” where you’d enjoy hearing some sterling songs and poignant memories of one of rock music’s most talented songwriters ever to pick up a pen and create magic. That would have been a phenomenal night in and of itself, but, in true P. F. Sloan style, the man who wrote “Secret Agent Man,” had a few surprises in store for the guests.

As Steve Feinberg, co-author of "What’s Exactly the Matter with Me?" the P. F. Sloan autobiography, shared, “the show was extraordinary.”

As is always the case with events at the iconic South Pasadena Library, especially music in their community room, advance publicity was solid.

Turns out the surprises included the guest appearances of two of Sloan’s friends, in a once-in-a-lifetime evening of music. Creed Bratton, formerly of The Grass Roots and actor in the television show, “The Office,” joined Sloan for a few songs. Of course, today’s television generation only may know Bratton for his recent role on “The Office,” but classic rock fans in general, and Grass Roots fans specifically, know Bratton as part of the original Grass Roots from 1967-1969.

Then to the delight and surprise of the audience, Warren Entner was introduced to the SRO crowd in the South Pasadena Library, as one of Sloan’s special (surprise) guests. Of course, you don’t go to visit Phil without bringing a guitar, but when Warren joined Phil and Creed onstage, it was more than a matter of making music and remembering when. In fact, the trio made Grass Roots history.

Remember, with the first hit records of the Grass Roots, there were no Grass Roots. They were the name made up to place-save for the creative team of P. F. Sloan and Steve Barri, making music on the Dunhill Label with their songs. With Sloan’s innate understanding of what makes a hit record, plus his on-target ear for arrangements making this fictional band soar up the charts, there was an almost immediate demand for the band.

Finally when people wanted to see some “real” Roots, well, you can read for yourself “What’s Exactly the Matter with Me” and learn the exact story of how the Grass Roots were created but just remember that Warren was an original GT band member, on guitar from 1967-1974. You heard him singing on “Temptation Eyes,” “Midnight Confessions,” “Bella Linda,” “Sooner or Later,” and more.

Let’s face it: the best part of the iconic song, “Let’s Live for Today” is when Warren counts in the “1, 2, 3, 4” and then you as the Grass Roots fan you are, know to join in on “sha la la la la la, live for to-daayyy.” The song was co-written by David Shapiro, Ivan Mogul, and Michael Julien, was recorded first by the British group, The Rokes in 1966. But when Sloan found it perfect for the Grass Roots, and produced it (together with Steve Barri) for the Grass Roots, the single was released on Dunhill on May 13, 1967 and made it to #8 on the Billboard charts. But, since it sold over 2,000,000 copies as the record charts show, it was a gold record for all concerned.

So, that innocuous fall evening in Pasadena, once and for all there were three “real” Grass Roots together again for the first time in over 45 years. How surreal that experience was, especially for Feinberg, who is the only person besides Phil Sloan who knew what horrific things had occurred to Sloan at the hand of former record label associates whose business practices and ethics were….well, you have to read the book to believe it.

Feinberg shared, “I stood in the door to the stage when Warren counted and was thrilled to witness something that was so iconic in my life.” There were so many Interesting people in the crowd. Feinberg said, among those present were “John York of the Byrds, Donna Loren, Stevie Kalinich, Tom Waldeman. Jared Cargman, an original member of The Fantastic Baggys--a capacity crowd of two hundred plus.” Following the concert, Phil took questions for an hour and Feinberg said, “Nobody left their seats. He was funny and eloquent” at the same time.

Music photographer Joaquin Montalvan was also present for the special event, and he graciously shared his photos for readers to enjoy. Asked about what he thought of the once-in-a-lifetime reunion concert, Montalvan said, “It was a great show, completely packed house, and P.F. got a standing ovation after "Eve of Destruction." He continued, “The audience also really responded to Warren Entner being up there, not having played in 40 years, particularly when he did his famous 1, 2, 3, 4, on "Live for Today."

Virtually every diehard Grass Roots fan and devotee lists “Live for Today” among their top 3 Grass Roots songs, so many of them having been co-written, produced or influenced by Phil Sloan. That and virtually every other Grass Roots hits can trace their lineage back to the creative mind of Phil Sloan and, it goes without saying each time, the creative contributions of the legendary Steve Barri. Barri, however, didn’t go through what Phil did, so it was like apples and oranges.

To be clear, at no time and in no place, stated or print, did the trio of musicians together, or the individual musicians separately, ever call themselves the Grass Roots, to the audience or anyone else. But, classic rock purists knew that that is exactly who had reunited for one unforgettable evening.

All that, with absolutely no disrespect to the band that tours the country as the Grass Roots (owned by Nancy Grill), formerly known as The Grass Roots starring Rob Grill, who have been touring for now over three years after Rob’s passing. So many people love the music of the Grass Roots that they’re even booked on the Happy Together Tour for 2015. Fans love the music created by and the band invented by P. F. Sloan. The group who tours includes lead singer/bassist Mark Dawson, guitarist/vocalist Dusty Hanvey, keyboard/vocalist Larry Nelson and drummer Joe Doherty. Hanvey, Nelson and Doherty were with Rob Grill for over 20 years at least. It’s also well known that Rob Grill hand-picked Dawson (who has his own bands, including the Kings of Snack and Simulcast, as well as singing with Gladys Justiniano as a duo, i.e., he’s the hardest working man in show biz).

Phil Sloan, however, is finally, after decades of being forcibly ignored so egos and fat profits could go on and on for others, being recognized for the joy he brought to music lovers around the world. It’s great that he is continuing to make selected appearances as it gives classic rock fans a chance to hear his story and shake his hand and say thanks. That’s a long overdue and important gift back to Phil.

Warren Entner (L) and Creed Bratton (R) stand behind P. F. Sloan at an impromptu reunion at the South Pasadena Public Library, when Sloan appeared to discuss his biography (co-written with S. E. Feinberg). He'd invited some friends to join him for a few songs. History was made that night, albeit it by serendipity.

Classic rock fans love P. F. Sloan, and it’s about time he hears from each and every one. Read “What’s Exactly the Matter with Me?” and find out what the music business was really like, back in the day. The revelations will astound you.

[Editor's note: Story was published originally at: At the time of this story, then, P. F. Sloan was indeed very much alive and well. [Sadly, we lost Phil on November 15, 2015.] He filled the South Pasadena library on October 16, 2014. Prior to that, Sloan managed to bring such a crowd into a Malibu bookstore that they sold out of every single copy of his book. Before that, Mike Somavilla brought him to Harold Adler’s Art House Gallery and Cultural Center in Berkeley and filled every inch of available space, including having to throw cushion pillows down on the floor to accommodate the crowd. You can still be among friends on Facebook's Only P.F. Sloan Group. The page administrators are really great and will welcome you.]

As another site of interest, visit the web page re Phil's memoirs and there you can read two sample chapters . You'll want to buy the book! To make that easier, then, to go to amazon directly: Click here to purchase.

Many thanks are due to S. E. Feinberg (Sloan's co-author) and Steve Fjeldsted, Director of Library, Arts, and Culture at the South Pasadena Public Library, for all the work behind the scenes that made such an unforgettable night a reality.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Elvis is in the Building, Thanks to Special Gift for Texas A&M’s Libraries

Texas A&M is fortunate to have philanthropists who generously support the university. Close to my heart and to those of many who love A&M are the TAMU Libraries. The name Mrs. Sara Lindsey, of Houston, is well known to many Aggies for her donations to arts, humanities and the libraries. Her latest gift to Texas A&M is her priceless collection of Elvis Presley memorabilia; it's free to the public to see.

Cushing Library, Texas A&M donors, John and Sara Lindsey, and samples of Mrs. Lindsey's donation of her Elvis memorabilia.

Elvis Aron Presley is one of the most influential and original entertainers to shape the world of music. Countless numbers of young men picked up a guitar and decided on a music career as a result of Elvis, aka The King. Thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Sara Lindsey of Houston, Texas, Aggies and visitors to Texas A&M’s Cushing Library now get first look at her personal Elvis Collection. Michael Jackson, Curator of the Collection, was kind enough to share some preview photos on Oct. 23, 2014, especially for readers. The collection, known as “The King: Celebrating the Sara H. Lindsey Collection of Elvis Memorabilia” is on the second floor of the Cushing, and the exhibit runs through Dec. 12.

Part of what you’ll see here are memorable photos of Elvis the soldier, as he entered the U.S. Army and served his country as well as becoming a member of the U.S. Army Reserve. Although a tour of military duty could have crushed his then-budding career, Elvis was raised as a boy from Tupelo, Mississippi, to serve his country, same as members of the fightin’ Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets. Mrs. Lindsey is a lifetime fan of Elvis, and she began her collection early, beginning with the types of things we all save from concerts, ticket stubs, buttons, photos, and the like. As soon as Mrs. Lindsey’s friends knew of her collection, they added to it with gifts to her over the years as well, to her great delight.

There’s a standout “Volcano Ring,” that Elvis wore at his 1973 concert “Aloha from Hawaii.” As curator Michael Jackson shared, “it’s the ring that was commissioned as a gift for Elvis by his wife Priscilla.” Clearly these are one-of-a-kind finds for Aggies to enjoy seeing. There are some fun and versatile Elvis collectibles, including a photo of Mrs. Lindsey with an Elvis impersonator, who was hired as a delightful diversion to celebrate her 40th wedding anniversary to her husband, John. Had he known of this, the real Elvis would have been proud.

The Cushing Library is easy to find, set in the heart of the Aggie campus in College Station, just a pebble’s throw away from the historic Academic Building. It’s a favorite location, at one end of the Sterling C. Evans Library complex. Just looking at the top of the building, the names of scientists, scholars, and statesmen engraved in stone in a banner that goes all around the building previews that you’re about to enter a place where collections of educational materials have been amassed over the years, lovingly and wisely preserved for the public to experience.

The Cushing Library is open weekdays to the public; best news of all, it’s free! Convenient parking is available at reasonable rates in the parking garage closest to Rudder Tower. Don’t miss the opportunity to check this out when you’re on campus, and preview some of the items in the accompanying slide show.

The generosity of Sara Lindsey and her husband John H. Lindsey ’44, to Texas A&M University is legendary, despite her best attempts to maintain a low profile in her giving. But that’s really part of the Aggie way; former students and those who love the university give freely, willingly and without much fanfare, because the education of future generations are what is most important to them.

The generation of those who were early givers to the Texas A&M Libraries include first, the late, great Aggie, Sterling C. Evans’23. Some thirty-five years ago, in 1979, at the invitation of Dr. Irene Hoadley, then Director of TAMU Libraries, an undergraduate and graduate student were among the dais invited to offer remarks upon the occasion of the dedication of Sterling C. Evans expansion.

Present that day were Mr. Evans, whose unbounded love for the library and generosity in giving led the way. Mr. Evans had an endearing way of addressing anyone he met as “young lady” or “young man,” even if they were in their 50s and 60s; it was charming and ever as much a throwback to the gracious gentleman he was. The Aggie legend was inspirational to all around him, especially when it came to philanthropy.

Subsequent Library Development would move forward with the creation of a formal Library Development Council including Mr. Evans, the late Irma and Bill Runyon ‘35, who supported both the Evans library, as well as giving the art collection for which the Forsyth Galleries were established in 1989. Bill and Irma would attend council meetings, having driven in from Dallas in a classic Rolls Royce, the young man who’d grown up to be a great success in business. He loved attending art auctions because he said, “he was shopping for A&M,” and he meant it.

One of the leaders of the development council was the Rev. Dr. Leonora Ryan Montgomery, widow of the late Aggie Jeff Montgomery, ’41, of Houston, who been distinguished in petroleum engineering and to Texas A&M, serving as Chair of the Association of Former Students in 1968. Upon Jeff’s passing, Leonora continued oversight of and devotion to Jeff’s philanthropic interests for A&M, of which the library was part. Present also that day were John H. and Sara Lindsey, as the couple shared a special devotion to the library as the key to learning. The John H. Lindsey Building on the TAMU campus is, of course, home to the Texas A&M Press. The Lindsey gifts over the years to A&M have benefited arts, humanities, and particularly the libraries.

Such philanthropy didn’t happen overnight, and it most certainly did not occur as a result of a proposal placed before the donors that awakened them to a need to give. Rather, it is the true heart and soul of the Aggie acculturation for giving back that was born almost as early as the university was born. The need to give back, the desire to show appreciation for those who came before, to honor those faculty and staff who gave sacrificially at low salaries compared to private business, to teach Aggies is just the Aggie way and it can’t be properly quantified in words as it’s a 12th Man spirit of giving.

The professors who rented out garage apartments at rock-bottom prices to (then) young men coming from farms to study agriculture and mechanical engineering at A&M and go home to make their marks on the world were the first donors. Following that example were Aggie former students who, just a few years out in the world, would give back their own senior boots or the funds for someone else in future classes to afford their senior boots. That spirit is as strong today as current TAMU Corps of Cadets Commandant, Brig. Gen. Joe E. Ramirez spotted the recent quick thinking of E-2 Cadet Ryan Kreider, who saved Miss Reveille from being run into by an SMU receiver, and he announced he was buying Cadet Kreider’s senior boots when that day came.

Elvis Presley was personally noted for his vast philanthropic gifts, some to complete strangers, simply for the joy of giving. Many things he’d do to help were never known publicly, because he just enjoyed the sheer joy of giving anonymously. This is exactly the same spirit of philanthropy with which Mrs. Lindsey has been giving to the TAMU Libraries over the years. Her beloved collection of precious Elvis memorabilia is her most recent and definitely one of her most thoughtful gifts. Aggies everywhere will appreciate this for years to come. If asked, they’d surely say something like: “Thank you, thank you very much.” Elvis is “in” the house, and the Cushing Library is the place to check it out.

[Note: Full story previously on AXS.Com at:]

Friday, October 10, 2014

Leaving Shadows Behind, Kiki Ebsen Steps into Spotlight on ‘Scarecrow Sessions'

The thing about musicians is that they are never satisfied with status quo. If they're recording, there's always one more take they can try for, another song to write for an album, or they might completely change up an arrangement of a song that has served them well for a long time. Not all musicians are composers, and not all composers are touring musicians. Kiki Ebsen is a singer, and she's also a songwriter, and she's a touring musician--all of those, individually, or together depending on what genre of music is needed.
Photo credit: Donavan Freberg

She's toured with Christopher Cross, Boz Scaggs, and Chicago in the pop rock/classic rock vein, she's been on tour with Wilson Phillips, Tracy Chapman, and Belinda Carlisle, playing keyboards and singing backing vocals. In jazz, she's found a home on stage with Boney James and Al Jarreau. In the music industry, they categorize her as a first-call musician. In 2014 Kiki has given her full attention to her latest love, jazz, and she's just released her CD entitled, "Scarecrow Sessions," a tribute to the favorite music of her dad, Buddy Ebsen, beloved TV character actor ("The Beverly Hillbillies," "Barnaby Jones," and various music specials), as well as motion picture actor and vaudeville performer.

Music flowed through the genes of the family Ebsen and landed squarely on Kiki, whose CD is finding fast acclaim and new recognition for this established artist. "Scarecrow Sessions" is Kiki's 6th individual release. She's also a featured artist on several rock/adult-contemporary/jazz recordings as well.

It was a pleasure to do a feature story on Kiki and hear of how "Scarecrow Sessions" is being embraced by all who are discovering it. Her album is now in consideration for the ongoing Grammy Award process and she's putting together a performing schedule for 2015.

Story (originally published on 10.10.2014) follows:

It was never clearer that 2014 has been a whirlwind year for dynamic singer-songwriter Kiki Ebsen than when she posted on her Facebook page, on Oct. 8, 2014, that she had decided that her upcoming show in the listening room of the trendy Los Angeles bistro, Genghis Cohen, would be free. That’s her gift back to friends and fans who have been her enthusiastic supporters this year on the most exciting musical journey she has had thus far in her illustrative career.

Likely you already know Kiki Ebsen, if only for her background vocals and bright keyboards on stages across the country and around the world. Her passport has about as many stamps in it as the U.S. Post office, ever embodying the traveling troubadour label that befits her. You would have seen her on stage just about anywhere, but you might not have known it was Kiki until the headliner artists did their obligatory band intros.

She began her touring career offstage; no seriously, she was off the stage, or more accurately, behind it, out of site. Ebsen accepted a serendipitous invitation to go on the road with classic rock band, Chicago, in one of their tours years ago, as their MIDI technician and playing keyboards, sight unseen. When Robert Lamm or Bill Champlin would step forward on stage to sing, Kiki took up the keyboard slack and no one had a clue she was there. She said, during a conversation last March for, that this experience was really incredibly helpful to show her the truest side of a musician's journey.

If you have enjoyed live concerts featuring the jazz sounds of Boney James, the grooves of Tracy Chapman onstage at the Grammy Awards, the harmonies of Wilson Phillips, the searing soul of Boz Scaggs, the driving rhythms of Belinda Carlisle, or the amazing Al Jarreau, you have heard and seen Kiki.

And you would never have suspected her versatility and talent as a solo artist unless you’d heard and seen the legendary Christopher Cross in concert. Cross brought Kiki into a featured role on stage singing together with him on “Open Up My Window,” “Spinning," and "I Know You Well."

In the past 11 years, this creative artist has stayed true to her musical muse, having written hundreds of her own songs, of hope, of looking to the future, and about the joy and the pain of falling in love, falling out of love, and finding the joy in between. Her songs were recorded by other respected musicians, including Boney James, Eric Marienthal, and Jessy J. Once you know her name, you naturally want to know her music. You can find her albums all on her website, but you have to look beyond the discography to discover the journey.

Yes, in 1993 she recorded “Red,” and she created the artwork for the CD, covering music and canvas with color. At a vibrant point in her career, she released “Love Loud” in 2000, anthems to her feelings at the time. It was actually named to Muse’s Top 10 albums not long afterwards. She found time to gather friends including Joy Bonner and Tracey Brown and release “Music Heals, Volume 1,” in 2001.

In 2005, she released the self-titled, “Kiki," There are so many treasures on this CD, but the production is such that you don’t have favorite singles, because you’re playing it from start to finish and they all blend together so well. In 2010, she released "Cool Songs, volume 1,” which was her take on standards that she loved, which she styled in her own, original way.

In 2011 her piece de resistance was released. Titled “The Beauty Inside,” it is arguably her best work until now. Every song had a special meaning to Kiki, as a road map of a path she personally traveled. Song highlights include “Darling,” “Better Friend,” “Weird Fascination,” and more. On the strength of this album, Kiki began constructing her own mini-tours, made up of festivals, house concerts, and venues that were geographically nestled and scheduled on her days off from touring with the headliners. Her own following burgeoned forth, and she was content.

And in the meantime, when she was home in California, she found purpose and inspiration in an entirely separate activity, in a project known as The Healing Equine Ranch. This is a nonprofit educational organization that funds equine growth and brings learning programs to the community. Of special note is that all the horses they use in teaching are rescue horses that have been abandoned or considered not worth saving.

Kiki targeted the unwanted horses to use for teaching, as she believes each of the horses that came to them were worthy of being fought for. Her advocacy, or dream, is realized through programs offered at The Healing Equine Ranch such as “Horse Mornings.” Classes are held for both women and men, and it’s a time of strengthened communications, building trust, and understanding interpersonal skills.

In the training, you unplug your electronic devices and concentrate strictly on communicating with the horse one-on-one. Looking for how the horse responds and communicates in its own way, the "be here now" premise overtakes the participants, and they emerge as exceedingly more insightful. In a workplace setting, imagine the impact The Healing Equine Ranch has, organizationally speaking, on the supervisor who (previously) could not communicate well. Following the various training programs, the participant emerges as both better listener and better communicator. The curriculum is exceptional and is worth reading more on their website. There are also videos well worth review.

Participants come to The Healing Equine Ranch in skill levels ranging from knowing about horses by watching “Mr. Ed,” all the way up to having those who may have ridden when they were younger. Being at T.H.E. Ranch is a way to clear your mind of the tension and trauma of daily executive pressures and to find that peace and quieting of spirit that restores and heals. The programs and activities here are, in part, funded by Kiki’s music, as well as other fundraisers, so each album and CD has made it possible to expand, grow. Makes buying her music an even more exciting option when you know how it makes a true difference, beyond beautiful art for art's sake.

So there you have it, the career of Kiki Ebsen until and through 2013, safely tucked away in the shadows of anonymity and continuous production, high quality output, and journeying through life just merrily enjoying the ride and whatever kismet came her way.

But that all changed earlier this year. The thing about creative people is that they are never satisfied with “status quo.” In fact, that’s quite an ugly phrase to them, implying stagnation or resting on one’s laurels.

Digging through a rediscovered box of forgotten memories and mementos, Kiki found some 1930s era scripts and sheet music compositions of her father’s. Yes, Buddy Ebsen also wrote music, in addition to being a song-and-dance vaudeville entertainer, movie actor and TV star. Kiki’s mother was passionately devoted to community theatre.

Now, picture a talented lady with an inspiration, to create a new gift of music and dedicate it to her father, for Father’s Day. Buddy and Zeke Manners co-wrote a tremendous song, “Missing You,” and that song became a centerpiece around which she gathered other songs that were significant to her dad, or of relevance to his career.

The mosaic of music formed quite a masterpiece. Click on Kiki’s website, and see for yourself the honest feedback from critics and reviewers. You’ll soon see proof that this particular album is the highlight of Kiki’s career, to date. It only surprises people who are hearing her sing for the first time that the acclaim for “Scarecrow Sessions” is flowing in from all over. Her longtime fans simply expected it would be this good.

How the album went from concept to reality is a path of 30 days’ length. A Kickstarter project called “To my dad, Buddy Ebsen, for Father’s Day. Love, Kiki” was launched in March, 2014, and only 30 days was available to complete a project goal of raising $12,000, which she did on Apr. 3. That amount was set but it was only part of the cost to create and produce the CD, which would have to be delivered by June 15, Father’s Day.

You’ll love the story behind how the incredible talent was brought together for the CD. The impetus for the timing was the renowned producer David Mann, a music colleague whom Kiki regards highly. Rather than read more about it, instead, listen to Kiki visiting with Trish Hennessey on her “Hybrid Jazz” radio program. Of additional importance is to hear jazz specialist Hennessey relate how just one time hearing Kiki singing, “If I Only Had a Brain” compelled her to invite Kiki to her program. It’s not surprising that all it has taken, so far, was this first single from the CD to find the all-important radio play that all artists need to be successful.

When you listen to “Scarecrow Sessions,” the CD title that stemmed from Buddy Ebsen’s won (and lost) movie role in “The Wizard of Oz,” you will encounter a musical journey that will invite you to revisit the album again and again. The musicians who make the magic include Chuck Loeb (electric and acoustic guitars), John Patitucci (acoustic and electric bass), Henry Hey (piano and organ), Clint de Ganon (drums), and David Mann (saxophone and flute).

What’s different, special, memorable, and important about “Scarecrow Sessions,” though, is that it is a showcase for the strength, style, and gentle power of Kiki Ebsen as a solo vocalist. You’ve never heard her this way before, no matter where you’ve heard her in concert or on CD. Every song has a more special meaning to her as it fits into the outline of a message of love, daughter for father. Two important backers, of the 180 who joined together to help make her dream come true, are her sister, Bonnie, and her brother, Dustin, who are as excited for her project as she is.

A highlight of the successful Kickstarter program that exceeded its goal was the Father’s Day concert, which was broadcast live and streamed to supporters, on Father’s Day 2014. If you missed it, Kiki's website has selected video clips from that day that you will enjoy.

Since June, a whirlwind of acclamation and support has almost overwhelmed Kiki. And that’s simply what comes with being discovered, being embraced by strangers who have been so touched by her music that they feel like they’ve known her forever, and the music keeps getting added to the radio playlists, from formats of smooth jazz, to easy listening to adult contemporary. All across the radio dial, and up and down the downloads, Kiki Ebsen is becoming more known and beloved than she ever, ever imagined.

She’s close to being caught up in a temporal vortex the way things are moving so quickly. But in the world of entertainment, that’s a good thing, a very good thing. As just one example, “Scarecrow Sessions” is now under voter consideration for Grammy Award nominations in several categories. To those who've listened and excitedly approved her work (see her website), this latest CD seems to fit right in with what is called the Great American Songbook.

During the summer, Ebsen performed in a first wave of concerts in support of the album, including a two-week tour in Scotland, which she found invigorating. She came home to devote some serious time to The Healing Equine Ranch before the road beckoned to her to again venture out.

For her upcoming Oct. 13 show, Kiki wants it to be one more celebration of a dream coming true, which is why she’s made it a free show. The unique bistro, Genghis Cohen, got its name thanks to the iconic Artie Wayne, rock producer and former Warner Brothers executive, whose sense of humor and storytelling are legendary. The restaurant, a New York-style, American-Chinese restaurant and music venue in Fairfax, Los Angeles, was opened by the late Allen Rinde, and many legendary musicians have long held this venue close to their hearts as one of "their own."

It’s also the first public concert where Kiki will actually be able to showcase all the songs from “Scarecrow Sessions.” If you’re anywhere near Los Angeles, be there Monday night at 7:30 p.m. Witness for yourself the transformation of a keyboard player and backing vocalist, who came to the forefront occasionally on national tours with Christopher Cross, Boney James, Belinda Carlisle, Tracy Chapman, Michael McDonald, or Chicago. Today, Ebsen is ready to add a new adventure to her list of "can-do" loves.

She's the complete solo singer, keylight kind of stylist, who's being received and embraced as such. It didn't take long for that to happen, but it's nice that it occurred as a result of her generous gift of time and talents offered out of love. Just seven months after she said, “I’d like to create something for my father,” Kiki Ebsen has an exceptional CD product in “Scarecrow Sessions.”

Further, and most importantly, this CD adds an entirely separate, new dimension for audiences to meet and know her. Even if you knew her as just one kind of singer before, "Scarecrow Sessions" is the breakout vehicle she's needed to reach that next performance level that was waiting for her. Kiki Ebsen's versatility now encompasses the singer-songwriter of original love songs, whom most have come to know, backing artist and musician for household names in rock and pop; a first-call recording artist for supporting work in rock, jazz, blues, and pop; and now, as a solo chanteuse who can deliver the jazz standards beloved by three generations as though they were her first, and only, repertoire. Any father would be proud, especially the one for whom she dedicated 2014 to honoring.

And so it is, where Kiki Ebsen's musical journey is now beginning to enter a new dimension, yet again. She remains the same person, just viewed under different spotlights. It hasn't changed her a bit. Kiki is ever as understatedly modest, generous with praise for her colleagues, and simply excited to be creating something that’s being discovered as “a new treasure.” She’s been there all along, same talent and creative capacity, but you just might have missed her before, because she was so at home behind the scenes. With "Scarecrow Sessions" she has reached new heights, and her future is indeed bright, with more dreams yet to be realized. At last, Kiki Ebsen has moved out of the performing shadows, into the spotlight, where she belongs.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Paul Revere, beloved classic rock legend, dies at age 76

The world of classic rock music has lost another icon today. Paul Revere, entertainer, singer, musician, bandleader, friend, husband, father and grand man of show business died Oct. 4, 2014 at the age of 76. The news of Revere’s passing came via a post on his band’s official Facebook page tonight.

In August, 2013, Revere shared the news of his battle with cancer with over 100,000 fans on his band’s Facebook page. A wellspring of support, love, prayers and well wishes ensued on his Facebook page, exemplary of the true devotion with which music lovers and Baby Boomers alike held the legend Paul Revere Dick (his real name), born on Jan. 7, 1938.

In the past year, although fans had known that Paul was battling cancer, everyone had prayed, hoped, and shared that they were all counting on Paul to get better. Although it was not widely known by the fans, when Paul made his final stage appearances, it represented such a magnitude and level of courage to still get out there and literally “gave everything he had” to bring the crowd what they came to see—a truly good time.

It was just a few months ago, in July, that the wonderful gentleman decided to step away from the stage, proclaiming that he wanted the show to go on, but without him. Insiders expected that he realized that his time here on Earth was limited but he didn’t want to disappoint his fans for one moment. Ever a man of great business integrity, he changed the name of the band to Paul Revere’s Raiders, to reflect honestly that he was not there as part of the band. Others in the entertainment business admired him for doing just that, what is today called by the ”kids” in the business as “old school.”

Still, the fans kept up a barrage of Facebook posts showing their love for him. When he didn’t have the energy to read them himself, his loving wife Sydney read them to him. Members of his band remained in daily contact with him by phone. Paul kept up enthusiastically with what was going on in the shows and he loved hearing about the fans. He never failed to offer support, strength, courage and love to his musicians, who were doing for him all that they could do, even if through the tears they felt like sharing. Still they went on "for him," because of their devotion to his insistence that it was all, always, for the fans, that he wanted to be there.

Paul Revere’s band is in mourning, deeply, tonight for the loss of their fearless leader. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family as well as his Raiders band, who include Ron Foos (bass) and Doug Heath (lead guitar), who’ve been with him since 1986; Danny Krause (keyboard), who’s been with him since 1986; lead singer Darren Dowler, who joined him in 2008, and drummer Tommy Scheckel, who joined the Raider family in 2010.

Fans can visit the band’s Facebook page to share love and best wishes for the Revere family and extended family, and expect that even though Paul remains with them all in spirit. The 2015 Concerts at Sea signature Revere “Where the Action Is” cruise will sail in January, and Paul Revere’s Raiders will be on it, as well as performing across the country, beginning again in November, because, well stated simply, Paul wanted that to happen.

To borrow a line from Aaron Sorkin, “The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight.” Paul Revere, we thank you for all your gifts and graces shown to the world of music.

The author of Paul Revere’s tribute on his official Facebook page said it most eloquently: By your example, both professional and personal, you've left a blueprint of how to live a life full of love, laughter and happiness. The world will be a lot less fun, a lot less kind and gentle without Paul Revere in it. Your larger-than-life absence will leave a void in our hearts and our lives.

We are all blessed to have known you, and we'll miss you more than you could ever know.

Love forever,

Everyone who has ever met you

Paul Revere (January 7, 1938-October 4, 2014); Photo courtesy of Paul Revere's Facebook page.

Story originally published on, which garnered

Friday, October 3, 2014

TNT wisely cancels TV drama ‘Dallas’ after three seasons

Even if you had not seen the original CBS drama, "Dallas," there was little to love except nostalgia for the opening theme song, of the TNT remark, mashup of "Dallas," which the cable giant just announced would not be renewed for a fourth season.
Yes, there were anchor actors Patrick Duffy as Bobby Ewing and Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing, and they even dragged in Ken Kercheval as Cliff Barnes, now more evil, petty and jealous than ever.

But, it was JR Ewing (Larry Hagman) they tuned in to see. Ratings for the first season were fairly good and everyone was thrilled to see JR one more time, but knowing Hagman's poor health, the writers started the show with JR in a nursing home, in a wheelchair, wondering whether he'd eaten his oatmeal yet.

Now, try and build ratings off of that!
Some people loved the new show, but as a devotee, one of millions, to the original show, actors Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe were stunted by scripts that made them appear imbecilic, whiny, and let's just call it for what it was, poor excuses for the name Ewing. Jock and Miss Ellie would not have been proud of the Generation Y's Ewings. No, sir.

Good move, TNT.

These 'kids' didn't have what it takes to bring it to the name Ewing. In anything else, they're sure to build a following as actors, but this wasn't their breakout starring role op, either.

Given Texas' current and outgoing governor, Rick Perry, Sue Ellen Ewing was right up there as a Texas gubernatorial candidate.
After all, everything is bigger, including egos, in Texas, right?

Sometimes it’s true that you just can’t go home again. Such is the case for The Ewings, an iconic but fictional television family, whom TNT resurrected from three decades ago, at the height of the oil boom. It was a kinder, gentler time when oil barons and the best in nighttime soap operas that were actually must-see programs worth arranging your schedule around. On October 3, 2014, TV Line reported that TNT decided it was time to put a(nother) fork in Southfork and call it done after three very long seasons on cable.

Who among Baby Boomers didn’t tune in to see what J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), the man everyone loved to hate, was up to each week? His never-ending battle with younger brother Bobby (Patrick Duffy) was more a battle of the wits with love undergirding the jealousy and competition, which endured for 357 episodes. Back in the day Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing was consistently beautiful and tortured as she tried to survive life at Southfork amidst everyone either hating or pitying her. Good times? Not so much. With the remake the scripts were just not what she needed to establish the "new" Sue Ellen as solidly.

Curtain rings down on TNT drama 'Dallas' and after three seasons, it was definitely time to go. Sue Ellen didn't have anyone to really battle after Larry Hagman's "JR" passed away. (Photo by Rick Diamond)

Sadly the writers of the 21st-century Ewing saga weren’t attuned to the original David Jacobs formula, and it was a "silk purse, sow's ear" reverse transformation, compared to the original CBS and Lorimar Production's “Dallas” that was an American and international favorite. It was also both hard to watch and even more traumatic to compare the two shows. It was barely palatable if you weren't old enough to have seen the first one.

Curtain rings down on TNT drama 'Dallas' and after three seasons, it was definitely time to go. In another vehicle, Josh Henderson can flourish, just not in Big-D. (Photo by Rick Diamond)

Three seasons ago, when Larry Hagman was alive, it was clear that he was ill, but he gave it his very best and the scripts were basically solid enough to help you drift back and remember the days of Jock (Jim Davis), Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes and Donna Reed). The second-generation of “Dallas” didn’t include Victoria Principal’s Pamela, nor did the added strength (and built-in adversary) of Steve Kanaly’s Ray Krebs character and those omissions did matter.

Curtain rings down on TNT drama 'Dallas' and after three seasons, it was definitely time to go. The women of 'Dallas' were not like Sue Ellen or Pamela. No, sir. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Patrick Duffy looked simply aggrieved most of the episodes in the next-gen “Dallas,” likely due to wondering why and how he stayed after Hagman’s passing. The biggest flaw in the entire concept was the casting of Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe as John Ross and Christopher Ewing, respectively. It’s hard to know whether it was script quality or acting ability that the “kids” failed to hold anyone’s attention for more than four seconds. In other vehicles they may fare quite well, but they no more embody the offspring of the evil J.R. and the good Bobby than the man in the proverbial moon. Likely they were more eye candy than Ewing-caliber.

Curtain rings down on TNT drama 'Dallas' and after three seasons, it was definitely time to go. Jesse Metcalfe played Christopher Ewing but the part had no grit. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Without the early, established presence of Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) in the show, J.R., in a wheelchair and potentially brain-numb and it went downhill from there. The women of Southfork were equally disappointing, the plots were confusing and well, let’s just say it was time to pull the curtain. Even the show opening was muddled until Season 3 when they went back to the blatant reproduction of the original show’s three-way screen split and the theme music sounded closer to real.

You can find the complete collection of 14 seasons of the original 1970s and 1980s show on DVD at and other outlets near you. The original Southfork Ranch in Plano, Texas, is still available for tours and there’s even a Southfork Hotel for the full experience at the Ewing Mansion. So next time you're craving nostalgia, get in your car and drive over Dallas way. Turns out that TNT really does know drama, when it is, and when it’s not.

[Note: Full story previously published on]

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy Together 2015 Tour Lineup Announced

Fresh on the heels of the wind-up of the 2014 Happy Together Tour, audience response and ticket sales have driven this successful musical touring package across the country and over the border into Canada. Will your favorites be on the 2015 Tour? Six groups tour for the first time this year.

On Oct. 1, 2014, Paradise Artists booking agency shared the new tour poster for the 2015 Happy Together Tour on their web site, which is great news for the classic rock lovers across the country, who can’t wait to see this tour back in their home towns. Thirty years after the Turtles launched the first “Happy Together” tour based on the song with the fun, upbeat “bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah” chorus, they’re back “one more time” to do it all over again.

For the first time, the 2015 Happy Together Tour will feature six groups, featuring music of and by The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie, The Buckinghams, The Association, The Cowsills, The Grass Roots, and Mark Lindsay. Classic rock lovers keep showing up to see Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, aka Flo & Eddie, aka The Turtles and all of their friends on their tremendously successful annual tours of fun and music.

New to the Happy Together Tour for their debut year are the wonderful Cowsill siblings, Susan, Paul and Bob, whose hits include “The Rain, the Park and the Other Things,” “Hair/Let the Sunshine In” (from “Aquarius”) and “We Can Fly,” to name just a few. Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna, The Buckinghams, return in 2015 after having been on the original Happy Together early tour in 1985, plus back for the 25th anniversary year (2010), then in 2011, and 2012. “Kind of a Drag,” “Don’t You Care,” “Hey Baby, They’re Playing Our Song” and more will make you remember falling in love for the first time.

Mark Dawson and Dusty Hanvey, also return to carry on the music of the Grass Roots (when they tour together with Joe Dougherty and Larry Nelson) after a similar hiatus. Everyone appreciates “The River is Wide,” “Bella Linda,” “Midnight Confessions” and more. When Rob Grill was alive and on the tour, he always used to say, “You guys really know how to throw a party!” and that was always true.

Good-natured fun and remembering when takes place as not only Baby Boomers but a new generation of fans joins in to fill arenas, casinos, festivals and fairs, frequently selling out the places they go well in advance of the concert. Autograph sessions after the concerts happen often, but pay attention to where and when those will happen, because the concert dates go night after night after night and they have to keep the show on the road!

Cherokee nation and singer Mark Lindsay will both return, as no New York Radio City Rockette can kick as high as Mark can when he takes the stage. Talk about “I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone” or “Kicks” that Mark Lindsay is “Hungry” for, he’s at the top of his game and shares stories and songs as the former lead singer of beloved band Paul Revere & the Raiders.

Bringing the music you love and fell in love to and with continues from The Association are Del Ramos (brother of the late Larry Ramos), Jim Yester, and Jules Alexander (who also tour also with Bruce Pictor and Jordan Cole in full concert settings). “Never My Love,” “Windy” and “Cherish” always have the crowd singing along.

It has not yet been announced who the touring band will be, but since 2010, the skillful musicians who’ve been rolling down the roads with them include Godfrey Townsend (guitar), John Montagna (bass), Steve Murphy (drums) and Manny Focarazzo (keyboards). These talented tour guys, who used to tour with the Alan Parsons Project many years ago, and each who pursue their own individual careers, know all the words to all the songs. Because fans definitely love seeing every member of the full band on tour, the fast pace of featuring six different musical acts requires that you simply must have one band behind the artists to keep the show flowing.

Concert dates are being finalized and the full touring schedule will be released when it becomes available. Despite what Gene Simmons said a few weeks ago, classic rock is alive and well, at least if you’re a Baby Boomer. Let the good times roll, one more time!

The reviews for the Happy Together Tour continue to be stronger than ever.

Here's the touring group for the Happy Together Tour for 1985-1986. Thirty years have flown by, but these guys still bring it vocally, and with even more fun than ever before.

Story originally published on and registered

Photos by Lora Evans, courtesy of The Buckinghams in Concert Blog, with the exception of Happy Together Tour Poster, courtesy of Paradise Artists, and The Buckinghams on the 1985 Happy Together Photo, courtesy of West Communications.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

REVIEW: The Texas Tenors open TEXAS A&M’S MSC OPAS Season 42

The Three Tenors were absolutely the perfect choice to celebrate over 40 consecutive years of music programming in the Memorial Student Center Opera and Performing Arts Society (MSC OPAS) at Texas A&M. The evening of Sept. 26, 2014, marked the start for Season 42, whose programming theme is titled, “Good Times.” When John Hagen, Marcus Collins and JC Fisher entered to open the Ann Wiatt Main Stage Series, following a lovely off-stage vocal blend for the national anthem, the audience was already on their feet. But the talented trio earned several ovations throughout the evening, from a diverse and appreciative gathering of arts patrons.

From “America’s Got Talent” to College Station has been a tremendous journey of joy for these singers who call Texas their home base. The trio has traveled the world on cruise ships, played Branson’s Starlite Theatre for five years, and they have their own PBS special, “You Should Dream,” which is earning them even greater national acclaim. What’s more they came to the Brazos Valley to open “Good Times.” The evening’s performance was sponsored by Aggieland Credit Union.

It must be said that trying to pick the shows for any season of music, stage, orchestra, and entertainment presentation to please “everyone” is next to impossible. But that’s never bothered OPAS Executive Director Anne T. Black, as she and her OPAS Board of Directors travel to New York, and they bring home a group of shows that are available to travel to College Station in between their national tour appearances in cities that are, still, ten times larger than Bryan-College Station. To bring The Texas Tenors to an opening Friday night was as much of a coup as simply booking them.

These handsome, charming, and ultra-talented tenors were superbly accompanied by a four piece band known as “The 3 Bottle Band,” who travels with them. The Texas Tenors performs at least five weeks each year in Branson, Missouri. The talented backing musicians also had a home base in Branson, as key players behind Bill and McKenna Medley’s show as well as the late, great Andy Williams. The Three Tenors may have first knocked the socks off of Sharon Osborne, Piers Morgan, and David Hasselhoff (the Hoff!) in 2009 during the “America’s Got Talent” competition, but in the past five years, the trio’s popularity has grown exponentially.

As soon as John, Marcus and JC hit the stage, they owned it instantly, kicking off their show with their version of Alabama’s “Mountain Music.” It’s no secret that Aggies love good country-western music and they needed no encouragement to begin clapping along. In black cowboy hats and country-cut tailoring, they burst into “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and “Take Me Home Country Roads.” The trio invited the audience to sing along, but the crowd had already started before being asked.

In between the songs, the conversation and personality that each tenor shared gave the audience a good opportunity to get that “I’ve known you forever” feeling that carries over beyond the span of the concert. Each of the three best friends came together as they were guys with day jobs that were going nowhere quickly; in fact, one had lost his job. Undergirded with a shared faith in God, gospel music is one of their strongest genres, as they sang convincingly as well as beautifully. Each of course had spent a substantial amount of time singing in church settings for most all of their respective lives.

There was a definite spiritual feel to their rendition of “Danny Boy” and “Amazing Grace,” incorporating Dottie Rambo’s beautiful lyrics. In the beautiful backlighting across the stage, as they were singing their songs, I couldn’t help but be emotionally moved, to tears in fact, to think of all of the patrons, and patrons-now-saints, who have worked for over four decades to bring this series to what it is today.

Looking upward into the gentle lighting, the names and faces came to mind of Wayne Stark, Thyra Plass, Pat Peters, now gone, and so many others in the community today, to whom substantive thanks are due. Their gifts of time and finances made this a viable programming series for the Brazos Valley to experience things that previously had only been possible when you loaded up the station wagon and headed for Houston, back in the day.

As The Three Tenors began singing the lyrics to “It’s the Climb” the music swelled along perfectly but then it was time to re-involve the audience. Aggieland’s Mark and Laura Johnson were the tenors’ first audience members to visit. They ultimately whisked Laura onstage and all three of them sang to her and even posed nicely for photos, asking audience members to share them on their Facebook page.

An exceptionally poignant highlight was the tenors singing “God Bless the USA,” and the singers asked all veterans to stand and be recognized, followed by those who had spouses and children who served. This recognition of veterans may occur at every concert, but the crowd in Rudder was truly able to see just how many veterans call Brazos Valley and Texas A&M home.

Although there are three tenors, they’re distinct in their own way. Marcus is considered the “Contemporary Tenor,” JC is considered the “Romantic Tenor,” and John says he’s “The Tenor.” John made his Lincoln Center debut in Mascagni’s “Guglielmo Ratcliff” and he is a veteran and lover of all things opera. The Three Tenors did a pleasant version of “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot, and that scene from “Moonstruck” just kept popping up in my mind as they sang it. Luciano Pavarotti was acknowledged and remembered fondly in a special tribute during the evening.

In a special salute to their first trip to Aggieland, they showed an all-Aggie montage of campus and traditions as the trio sang “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and the audience was ready to clap along without being invited.

Refusing to be boxed in to typecasting, they then surprised the audience in appealing to some of the younger patrons by performing Coldplay’s “If I Ruled the World,” which was extremely well received. Then two tenors left the stage under a cute ruse and left Marcus to come down and greet audience members on the stage left side. There, Marcus spotted a lady named Kat, wearing a neck brace, and he was so amazed to learn that she’d suffered a broken neck but managed to come to see their concert. Noting her far-right audience seat, he asked the “folks down front in the middle” to find Kat an open seat, so she would not have to strain her neck the rest of the show, and the audience happily obliged. Then he sang one of his favorite songs, “God Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts to Kat, asking the audience to make certain they helped her out of the row at the end of the show.

The 3 Bottle Band then entertained the audience with a bluegrass tune while the tenors changed again. The Texas Tenors returned to the stage to offer two powerful crowd pleasers, “Music of the Night” and “Somewhere” from “Phantom of the Opera.”

A highlight of the evening was the performance of Dana Lamb’s song, “You Should Dream.” Lamb is a music educator at Cleveland Elementary in Fayetteville, Georgia. The Three Tenors were especially touched because each of them has parent educators, and teaching children to dream is important to all concerned. They shared that Lamb was so inspired to write the song, which just flowed into her mind; she grabbed the first writing instrument she could reach, a purple marker, and began writing. When she stopped, it was the song that would become the title of The Three Tenors’ latest album and PBS Special.

During the evening, patrons learned about the trio’s alliance with the nonprofit Child Fund International, and they had brochures on the merchandise for patrons to see. They chose an appropriate song to close out the evening as they’d each interacted with the audience and shared the highlight video of their career path from rehearsal and arrangements to the showcase of “America’s Got Talent.” Even if all you knew before the concert was the 30-second television commercial and their powerful harmony, thanks to their extensive abilities to engage with the audience, honed from years in Branson and by evening’s end you felt like they were three friends you’d known for years.

There are so many people to thank for the season, each of the sponsors, names you have known forever, and those who are newer to you. It takes almost an hour to read and think of the generosity of each name in all giving areas where OPAS and the community benefits, but it’s well worth your time. Every name, every donor in the OPAS program is key, vital in fact, as it who it takes to bring productions to campus for all to enjoy. No, it’s not always an affordable ticket price, but compared to taking the family to an Aggie football game in Jerry World, it’s a sheer bargain. Reasonable student ticket prices are made available for those who love the arts, sometimes even in a 2-for-1 option.

What was additionally impressive was the number of Aggie students who lined the rows of all three sections of Rudder Theatre, working hard to greet and seat patrons. Every year this core group of students accomplishes tremendous work before, during and after the performances to make the season a success.

Next up is an OPAS Movie Night, set for Friday, Oct. 3, at sunset in Sale Park in downtown Bryan. The event is a free screening for “Guys and Dolls,” and the public is invited to bring their lawn chairs, blankets and picnic suppers, as the gentle fall weather should hold nicely for the evening.

On Wednesday, Oct. 8, American Idol winner Phillip Phillips will perform at Rudder Auditorium for an OPAS special event. Tickets go on sale to the general public Sept. 30, as the students of Texas A&M and TEAM Blinn have had one week’s advance opportunity to get their tickets.

To learn more about OPAS and the rest of Season 42, visit them on the web at Get in on those good times today!

Originally published on on September 28, 2014. Photo credit: The Texas Tenors, used with permission.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mark Dawson and the Kings of Snack’s ‘One Saturday Night’ is refreshing

You already know Mark Dawson as the lead singer (since 2011) for The Grass Roots. Dawson has been performing with them full time since 2008, having been selected by Rob Grill to handle the major vocal duties as he battled health issues during his final performing years. But Mark is also a singer-songwriter in his own right, and plays regularly with many bands he helped co-establish, including Simulcast, particularly focusing on the Florida performing area. The Chicago native also sings with vocalist Gladys Justiniano, and these are two of the six members of the newest, hippest band to form, Mark Dawson & the Kings of Snack. You can hear Mark Dawson each Thursday Night on Our Generation Radio with his own 2-hour funky, creative, sometimes off the wall radio shows, complete with stories from the road. Mark Dawson and Grass Roots' guitarist Dusty Hanvey will be on the 2015 Happy Together Tour, which will make all the Grass Roots fans happy to hear their songs. Here's the link to the full CD Review for the inaugural release by Mark Dawson & the Kings of Snack, called "One Saturday Night."

Here they are: Mark Dawson & the Kings of Snack. Check them out. You'll be glad you did. No Grass Roots fan should be without this CD--their version of "Temptation Eyes" is worth owning for that song alone.

To order the CD, click here.

Sasha Alexander lands guest-starring role on ‘Shameless’

You have to give credit to actress Sasha Alexander. She's smart enough to not be typecast in some role for longer than a year or two. TV fans may have first come to know her from Dawson's Creek, and surely from "NCIS" as Special Agent Caitlyn Todd, a former U.S. Secret Service agent on Presidential Detail. Then she's a natural as child genius turned Boston Medical Examiner, Dr. Maura Isles on the TNT Drama, "Rizzoli & Isles." Now she'll have a six-episode story arc on Showtime's "Shameless." Personally speaking, she'd do better to guest on "Mom" for CBS but perhaps TNT contracts prohibit her from going back to the big-3 while the run is running? "Rizzoli & Isles" is on its mid-summer to mid-fall break right now and will be back in the season TNT calls "Winter." Meanwhile, I'll miss "Shameless" but be glad for the actress who's acting. That's Hollywood for gotta do what they say you gotta do, if you want to keep on working.
Sasha Alexander and her husband, director Edoardo Ponti, Getty Images, used with permission for

Image courtesy of TNT Drama.

Still, TNT Drama is offering quality programming alternatives to a lot of the yada yada boring programming on the Big-3.

Full story: Click here.

Texan Matthew McConaughey, Ellen DeGeneres, Lincoln MKZ and Cyrus the bull

So you're watching TV and you see this guy who looks familiar, driving in a car by himself, late at night on what is likely IH-35 in Austin....and you recognize the movie star, still looking rather gaunt from his "Dallas Buyers Club" box office smash. Then you ask yourself....why is it again that "The Lincoln Lawyer" is selling cars? Oh wait, Lincoln, Lawyer, someone over at Ford Motor Company's Lincoln Division saw the perfect product placement, eh? Texas men are fearless, generally, and undoubtedly there’s definitely a stereotype of many a southern gentleman as the “strong, silent type,” and so it is that Lincoln Motor Company chose Matthew McConaughey, a native son to market their 2015 Lincoln MKZ. So far there are a series of spots with the award-winning actor, his Lincoln, and you—the audience—engaged, but there’s another version of the commercial that’s doing even better—one posted on Sept. 23, 2014 by television star Ellen DeGeneres, who cyberjoins “Mumblin’ Matthew.” If you haven’t seen it, check it out in the accompanying video link. Full story, click here .
"All right, all right, all right, let's drive a Lincoln, man. It's all good." (Photo from

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Did Flo & Eddie beat SiriusXM or will they force classic rock off car radios?

Flo & Eddie, who by lawsuits long ago and far away, are advertised on tour today as “The Turtles Featuring Flo & Eddie” (exact wording from their official web site) harken back to other legal issues that they resolved ultimately in their favor, after being taken advantage of by several of their managers in days of old (watch the YouTube and see "what happened" back in the day). Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, adopted the “Flo & Eddie” identities as shortened monikers, short for a 1972 album “The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie,” released by the duo, who also sang with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, as well as also singing prolifically in studio sessions for other rock artists.
Now there are times when you can't take these guys seriously but they are Sirius about their complaints against not being properly compensated, hence the law suit. Questions remain, however, as to who wins and who loses based on this one suit in California. Other states to be sued, other artists to do the suing, theoretically. ALl SiriusXM has to do is pull the plug on their best 60s on 6 and 70s on 7 channels and watch how quickly the music, and interest in classic rock, fades away. The 60s on 6 station is one of the few remaining stations in America to play classic rock without changing the format every 10 minutes, the way so many of the larger, corporate "terrestrial" radio stations do. Plus, there are no commercials, which enhances the listening experience. So what, again, is considered a 'win'? Full story and details on the suit, click here

Singer Phillip Phillips Brings National Tour to College Station, Texas

Phillip Phillips, An American Idol winner, is coming to Aggieland, Oct. 8, 2014, Rudder Auditorium, performing hit songs from latest album, "Behind the Light"--students have first-option on tickets, beginning today--links to $15 great tickets inside story. Click HERE to read.
Some of Phillip Phillips' hits:
"Gone Gone Gone"
"Raging Fire"
"Alive Again"
"Midnight Sun" Order the album today:

Tickets on sale Sept. 23, 2014 for Texas Aggie and Blinn TEAM students;
Rudder Auditorium, Texas A&M campus, Oct. 8, 2014, 8 p.m.
General public can purchase tickets (only $15!!) one week from today.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chicago's Own Band, The Ides of March, to Celebrate 50th Anniversary in Style

S O L D - O U T  N I G H T !! This event is sold out!
On Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, Chicago music history will be made as The Ides of March will be celebrating 50 years in performing. The Boys from Berwyn will be celebrating at the McAninch Arts Center on the campus of the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. The evening's hosts are the great Bob Sirott and the legendary Dick Biondi, two voices of entertainment who everyone regards so highly. Special guests who will be there as the Cornerstones of Chicago Rock
Jim Peterik - The Ides of March
Tom Doody - The Cryan' Shames
Carl Giammarese - The Buckinghams
Jimy Sohns - The Shadows of Night
Ronnie Rice - The New Colony Six

                                                                     The Ides of March.

Great poster for this 50th Anniversary Show for The Ides of March

Ides of March!

                                                These are definitely X-treme Ides Fans.

The Boys from Berwyn always draw a crowd!

More Ides of March!

It's great when you get your own...way. The Ides of March Way, that is.

Click to read the full story on AXS Entertainment web site here:

Leonard Cohen’s 80th Birthday Celebration is Cause for National Tributes

Perhaps no singer-songwriter has had more of an impact—of some kind—on his contemporaries, and those who came a decade or two later, than Leonard Cohen. Cohen, who turns 80 years old on Sun., Sept. 21, 2014, is being given a celebration or two (or many) in his honor across the United States simply for remaining an inspiration. 

Read the full story here.

Order Leonard Cohen's new album/CD/mp3 "Popular Problems," from
Official Release Date: Sept. 23, 2014.

All photos from web site 

Artwork for new Leonard Cohen's new album, released in conjunction with his 80th birthday.